Jay-Z, Beyonce, Kanye West, Madonna and many others have reportedly joined Stevie Wonder’s boycott of Florida until Florida changes its Stand Your Ground laws, but some of that reporting has been called into question (more on that in a bit). Wonder said that he will not play in any Stand Your Ground states until those laws are repealed. If Wonder holds to his boycott, that means he will not play in more than half the states in the U.S., including California, Texas, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and a bushel of mostly right-leaning states.
Stevie Wonder sounds resolute that he will hold to his pledge:
"I decided today that until the 'Stand Your Ground' law is abolished in Florida, I will never perform there again," Wonder said at a concert in Quebec City. "As a matter of fact, wherever I find that law exists, I will not perform in that state or in that part of the world. The truth is that -- for those of you who’ve lost in the battle for justice, wherever that fits in any part of the world -- we can’t bring them back. What we can do is we can let our voices be heard. And we can vote in our various countries throughout the world for change and equality for everybody. That’s what I know we can do."
Wonder has been joined by a number of luminaries, but reports conflict over who exactly that includes. April D. Ryan reported a list that included Jay-Z, Madonna and the Rolling Stones. However, Mother Jones investigated, and a spokesperson for the Rolling Stones said that she had not heard of any such boycott. While Jay-Z was reportedly joining the boycott, he is still on schedule to play the Legends of Summer tour with Justin Timberlake in Florida. Jay-Z and Beyonce did meet with Trayvon Martin’s parents, but it’s not currently clear if either would schedule more tour dates in Florida or other Stand Your Ground states.
While the Florida Stand Your Ground boycott list is impressive, one has to wonder who besides Wonder is on there legitimately and will actually hold to whatever promises they made. Just refusing to play in Florida is an economic hit that would turn off many, and extending that to every Stand Your Ground state would seriously restrict where these artists could play. It’s likely that agents are talking these celebrities out of the Stand Your Ground boycott or that, as seems to be the case with the Rolling Stones, they never joined Wonder’s boycott in the first place.
Still, Stand Your Ground is getting its big public moment, and it deserves plenty of public shaming. Perhaps the anger over these laws will cause a few states to flip.